The Courtyard Rehabilitation and Health Center in El Dorado has surpassed a goal of getting the 75% of its staff COVID-19 vaccinations.
The goal is part of a nationwide benchmark set by the American Health Care Association and LeadingAge to vaccinate 75% of the approximately 1.5 million people employed at nursing homes by June 30,.
Courtyard administrator David Lewis said that 95% of the center’s staff have gotten the vaccine.
“This is important because it keeps the elders living here safe,” Lewis said. “The elder population is one of the most vulnerable, so we stressed to our staff to please consider getting the vaccine. We provided information and details about the vaccine that we could give them and they jumped on board.”
The Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA) said in a July 2 press release that they are proud of Courtyard for the recent achievement.
“Our teams recognize that getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to protect themselves, their residents and their families against COVID-19,” Rachel Bunch, executive director of AHCA, said in the press release. “We have seen staff work tirelessly day and night to keep the state’s most vulnerable safe and protected.”
The Courtyard staff aren’t the only ones with a high COVID-19 vaccination rate; Lewis said the residents themselves have a high vaccination rate as well.
“We have a 94% vaccination rate amongst our residents,” he said. “We continue to talk to residents and families about the importance of getting vaccinated, especially with COVID numbers trying to tick back up.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highly transmissible Delta COVID variant is now the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States. As of July 3, the Delta variant accounted for 51.7% of new COVID-19 cases in the country.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health there are 569 confirmed COVID-19 variant cases in the state as of July 3. Dr. Cam Paterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) discussed the immediate urgency around the surge in delta variant transmissions.
“We have the first case of the Delta variant identified in Arkansas on May 1,” Patterson said on June 29. “At this point in time, greater than 25% of genomic isolates in the state of Arkansas are the Delta variant and my anticipation is that within a week or two, the Delta variant will be over half of the cases of COVID-19 in the state.”
“It (coronavirus) looks like it is trying to make a comeback and we are just trying to keep it out of here,” Lewis said. “The best way to do that is to just have everyone be vaccinated.”
Lewis said he is extremely proud of his staff and their commitment to the safety of the residents.
“I am so proud of the staff for taking it upon themselves to keep the people they are taking care of safe,” Lewis said. “My hats off to the staff.”
The AHCA has also stated they will stay committed to keeping nursing home staff and residents safe.
“While we remain optimistic, our work does not stop here. We must continue to do all that we can to protect our seniors and frontline workers,” Bunch said in the press release. “We will continue to encourage vaccinations, as well as follow all safety guidelines such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).”